11 Dec An Open Letter to My (Surprisingly) Friendly Five-Year-Old
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would describe you as friendly. You’re a shy boy, a trait you proudly take after your dad. You’re an only child, which makes you potentially unsociable to the eyes of many. You’re an introvert, getting an extra boost energy whenever you’re alone. I would even go out on a limb here and say that you have the makings of a monk.
But you know what? Over the past year, you proved me and everybody else wrong. You surprised us when you approach kids and initiate conversations with them. I can’t help but think that as you worked your way to your fifth year, one of your goals was to open up to more people. You were so adorable whenever you would point to a child and ask for my permission to go and play with him or her.
It was your birthday a few days ago and we were at Manila Ocean Park. You saw a young girl and pointed at her giddily. I told you to go ahead and ask her name. You did! And you even responded with confidence when the girl’s grandmother asked your name and age. If we were in this situation a year or two ago, you would not speak at all. You won’t even make eye contact.
There were many instances that you did this over the past year. And we couldn’t be prouder. You just debunked every homeschool socialization myth of a shy, introvert, only-child boy! These are the moments we celebrate as homeschooling parents that when you give your child the love and confidence at home, raise him with the values he needs to face the world—he can go out and be the bravest bear in the woods.
I can’t believe that this is the fifth letter I’m writing to you! I guess I say it every year that this is a tradition I started to remember how much you’ve grown every single year. I intend to keep this going so that someday I can print all these letters out, probably turn it into a book (or ebook), and have you read them when you’re old enough to appreciate “a look back” at your life so far. 🙂
You know what, I’m actually saving you a lot of time and effort in case you would want to write your autobiography in the future! Haha! Speaking of which, this is the year when you were first able to express what you want to be when you grow up. Can you guess what you said? A writer. Well, you sometimes change it to a reader but you go back to wanting to be a writer. 🙂 My heart jumps whenever I hear you say that!
Well, let me tell you my son that you can make a great career being a reader and a writer. That’s all I’ve ever known. Haha! Your wowo and wowa blindly said yes when I wanted to take up Literature in college, a blessing that I would always be grateful for. God gave me a dream job in a bookstore for a decade. Now, I’m putting all those years of reading to good use by letting the words flow through my writing. If this is something you would really want to do someday then we’ll support you all the way.
Actually, we’ll support you even if you change your mind every year until you figure out what you really want. 🙂 Writing is a big highlight for you the past year. Some may say that you started to write late. You first officially wrote your name at four years and four months! Woohoo! And I mean you wrote a legible TIMOTHY. I mentioned before that you’re not a fan of tracing and worksheets so we ditched all of that.
We didn’t use any writing curriculum. What worked for us is simply stroke copying. You would ask me to write a letter, watch me write words repeatedly, and in the process you would copy my strokes and even my speed! Of course, I’m an adult and I write faster than you. But I didn’t realize that you write faster than most kids until I saw you with your Vacation Bible School classmates and one of the moms commented that you write so fast (and nicely, too!). I got so used to the two of us writing together that it didn’t occur to me that you had copied my writing style!
When you were younger, you only wanted color pens and paint. Not even pencils. Some people were asking me to spend extra time teaching you how to write. But you weren’t ready yet. I praise and thank God that your dad is a teacher and he understands readiness more than I do. He was very supportive and encouraging when I told him that I wouldn’t force you to write. He told me that it was okay because you’re too young and this was the very reason why we’re homeschooling!
True enough, the initiative came from you and we started writing with no tears nor fights. 🙂 You are so into writing now that we can’t go out of the house without your notebook and pens. You do have a penchant for writing plate numbers, though. Haha! You are obsessed with letters and numbers and I guess plate numbers gave you the best of both worlds. Too cute! 🙂 You also like to tally NBA scores complete with the acronym of the teams like CLE 45 NYK 40. Again, letters and numbers right there! 🙂 For your birthday, you even asked for a Melissa & Doug wooden alphabet set! We got you the numbers last year. 🙂
You’ve also been more expressive since you started writing. We receive love letters from you and you write them either on paper or on your whiteboard. I take pictures of your love notes! You also made cards for us, our family members, and your friends. I think you’re a romantic at heart, Timmy! Maybe you’ll be just like mommy, writing old school letters just because it feels right. 🙂 Someday, ask your dad about the box of letters I gave him. Up to now, he’s not yet done reading them. Haha!
We continued our preschool year and did lots of fun letter of the week activities! Three months ago, we started with Before Five in a Row. Next year, we will shift to Five in a Row! Even if you will not remember some of it, don’t worry I took lots of pictures and blogged about them. 🙂 I may not be able to scrapbook lately but I hope my blogging of our homeschooling adventures is more than enough for our memory keeping. 🙂 I chose that curriculum, by the way, because you love books. 🙂
Oh, Timmy. Our preschool year was so fun! All the laughter, pretend play, and storytelling took us to different places. I really love how you imagined our house to be flying and we would look at the window and spot eagles, vultures, parrots—you name it. We even went to outer space and you would point to me the planets we passed by! Our house even turned into a submarine and we saw octopuses, sharks, whales—and every see creature you could imagine. 🙂 Our room became a forest, too (literally and figuratively)!
We went on reading camps under our blankets with a flashlight. We pretended to be pirates, snowmen, dinosaurs, and more! 🙂 You loved helping baby animals find their mommies and for you the saddest part that could happen to anyone was to lose their mommy and daddy. You would even cry during pretend play! You know what? That really struck a cord in me because you already know what real, deep sadness is. It’s not about crying over a toy or a gadget. It’s about losing someone important to you. Wow.
When it comes to real-life adventures, you also had some memorable ones like the time when you rode the hotel elevator alone during our staycation. Good thing, the hotel staff were alerted to wait on you on every floor should the elevator would open. You eventually landed on the ground floor and were escorted by the hotel personnel (special shoutout to the B Hotel staff! 🙂 ). I think I was fumbling through my bag and told you not to go near the elevator but curiosity and disobedience got the better of you.
Well, sometimes we learn things the hard way. Since then, you haven’t attempted riding on an elevator again. But you still like pushing the buttons inside. 🙂 You also had your first meltdown last year. We were at the mall and you just refused to get a haircut for some reason. You also had another one during a Christmas party just last week because you thought you lost the game (you’re the only child there, by the way) and you got overwhelmed with the cheering and screaming of the winning team. You eventually calmed down but boy were you trying to out-scream them, too!
I know we still have a lot of firsts to experience. Some are good, some are bad. We may not be able to control some of them but we know that if we continue to raise you according to God’s Word, our parenting journey won’t be that difficult. As long as we put Jesus in the center of our family, we can embrace every parenting milestone and challenge with peace in our hearts. 🙂
Healthwise, you had hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) this year. You had it worse than other kids. Seriously. You had lots of blisters on your hands, arms, legs, and feet. It took you more than 10 days to recover. Roughly 14 days. Some of your fingernails and toenails even fell off! Good thing they were replaced with new ones. It may have been a tough time for you but it was also the moment when I first saw you express discouragement. 🙁 In the process, you asked me to read to you a story and verse about encouragement.
My heart felt like literally melting as I saw you listen intently. After we prayed, your disposition changed and you were shiny as the sun again! I didn’t even know that you knew what discouragement meant until you actually used it in the correct context to express how you felt. Praise God you’re completely well and I’m really praying that you don’t get it ever again. You also had some bouts with asthma. One attack was really bad I thought we needed to confine you.
We thank God for giving us a great doctor. Your pediatrician was also your neonatal doctor meaning she took care of you from the time you were born! She’s very cool and calm, rarely panics, and gives us the best advice every time. At first you were scared whenever we’d visit but now you’re really good buddies! 🙂 We are also learning to manage your asthma better each year but I guess some attacks are just inevitable especially with the extremely hot summer we had. We’re just so grateful that we don’t have any problems giving you medicines. Even if you had to take round-the-clock meds, you’d wake up easily and simply go back to sleep. 🙂
I was supposed to title this letter an open letter to my funny five-year-old because you are so hilarious! 🙂 You clearly have a knack for snappy, witty jokes that take us by surprise! I still do the #timmyisms hashtag to keep tabs on your famous lines as a toddler and preschooler. 🙂 You also compose your own songs and connect lyrics to your answers. For example, if I ask you, “What do you mean?” you will sing Justin Bieber’s song “What do you mean?” Too funny! 🙂 Oh, and yes, you officially entered the stage of toilet humor. Haha!
You are also getting better at speaking Filipino. I doubled my efforts in speaking and reading to you in Filipino this year to prepare you for Kindergarten homeschool. We love it that you love speaking Filipino and you try to form and complete sentences in our native tongue. 🙂 You like Filipino songs, too! I created a YouTube playlist of Filipino songs for kids and you practically memorized all of them. The best part? You enjoy singing them! You don’t feel forced! 🙂 You sing it while you’re playing and walking in the mall.
Your dad would even say jokingly that you just might be a linguist someday because you love learning new words. 🙂 I even told him one time that I’d like to try teaching you another language. Haha! My Spanish is so broken it won’t even mean anything if I try to put a sentence together. I think Dora would do a better job in teaching you but you don’t watch her either. Oh, well. Maybe someday. 🙂
I think one of the biggest highlights of your year was the official establishment of our school. We’ve already reached the stage when you started to ask, “What’s my school?” You see, we watched the cheer dance competition and we told you that the UP Maroons was daddy’s school team and UST Tigers was mommy’s school team. This prompted you to ask what your school was. And you, my smart little boy, created the name HSG Owls—Homeschool of the Guerreros. Our animal is an owl, which is an animal commonly associated with wisdom. Great choice, buddy! 🙂 So now, we say that daddy is from UP Maroons, mommy is from UST Tigers, and Timmy is from HSG Owls! Believe me. You have the coolest school, son. 🙂
Being homeschooled at a time when information can be accessed quickly anytime, anywhere is the best thing that could ever happen to education. You have the rare privilege of not being stressed out by waking up early and bringing home tons of homework. You play-study in your pajamas and learn more than most kids because we get to ride on your interests and focus on your strengths. Most of all, we can raise you with Christ-centered values that will help you live your life with integrity—the game changer in the real world.
So what were the other highlights of your year? You attended last summer’s Vacation Bible School. 🙂 I’m so proud of you, sweetheart! You deserve a socialization award for talking to your classmates and joining the games! You loved going to comic con (especially Asia Pop Con) and the NBA store—a special bonding with your dad. 🙂 We played in Active Fun twice this year (both at the Fort and at Megamall)! You’re such a trooper to be able to play non-stop for four hours! 🙂 And I’m such a grandma that I needed Ibuprofen after we played. Haha!
We’re still part of our growing homeschool Tuesday group, Team L4 and you’re noticeable more participative and nosier now. Haha! You planted your first seedling (carrot seed), experienced working in Kidzania, finished all 26 letters in our letter of the week, had a coin-bearer gig, attended three weddings, went on Trick or Treat for comic books (Fullybooked) and some candies for the first time as The Flash, supported daddy on his speaking engagement in Tagaytay, and to celebrate your birthday we went to Manila Ocean Park! 🙂
You still love shooting hoops with your dad. Not to mention your wrestling matches. 🙂 We also play basketball with a makeshift ring in the living room. Up to now I still can’t believe that I can shoot and cook at the same time! Haha! You still love to paint and do all sorts of artwork that are frame-worthy. 🙂 You’re a dubsmash savant. If only I can upload all your dubsmash videos I would! You love taking videos of yourself and you even ask people to subscribe to your YouTube channel (our future project)!
What an eventful year it has been, Timmy! I can’t believe we’re about to start kindergarten! Your toddler years went by so fast. I’m so excited for what God has in store for you! Happy birthday, Timmy! We love you so much! Enjoy being a child, sweetheart. You’ll only get to be one for a short while. 🙂